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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 911


The PRESIDENT (09:31): Senators, after question time on Monday last, Senator Bernardi asked whether I had made a ruling in relation to photographs being taken by senators in the chamber. I indicated that I had not. However, I do now, in relation to some events that have occurred in the chamber. In accordance with standing order 184, which provides that order shall be maintained by the President, I make this ruling.

This ruling relates to senators taking photographs in the chamber and, more broadly, to the use of electronic devices in the chamber. It reflects what has been accepted practice for many years, which I set out in a procedural bulletin of September last year and which my predecessor, President Hogg, advised in 2011.

Senators are permitted to use electronic devices in the chamber, including mobile phones, laptops and tablets, provided they are set to silent mode and their use does not disturb proceedings, either visibly or audibly.

Devices cannot be used to record proceedings, by either audio or visual means.

Senators cannot make or answer voice calls on mobile phones while they are in the chamber. Landline phones are under each desk to enable you to contact your offices.

The use of other services, including internet, SMS or email, is to be as unobtrusive as possible.

The use of cameras by senators, including cameras on electronic devices, to take still photographs or footage is not permitted in the chamber at any time.

Senators' advisers are able to use electronic devices in the chamber under the same conditions as senators.

I ask that all senators be mindful of this ruling and bring it to the attention of each senator's staff. A copy of this ruling will be circulated to all senators this morning. I thank the Senate.